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June 23-29, 2011 |



Committee establishes new school boundaries From REZONING | A1 Woodlands Elementary, Highlands Elementary, Winter Springs Elementary and Layer Elementary. The committee established three zoning proposals to present to the board. In last week’s meeting, the board approved option 2 (pictured at right) as a recommendation and will establish final action July 12. “There’s so many different combinations, and there were 64 different plans we had, so it was quite a job to find one that really made sense,” said Deputy Superintendent George Kosmac, who worked directly with the committee. “There were three good plans they recommended to the school board. Dr. Vogel took public comments into the situation, and recommended one of them, which was Option 2. There is an advertising period of 28 days and the the item will be voted upon at the public meeting in July.”

Kosmac said the committee worked with a computer program that allowed the group to put together the school zones much like a complicated puzzle. The committee, composed of two representatives from each school, including Longwood Elementary, teamed up to compare the geography of the school zones to make the changes as seamless as possible. Superintendent Bill Vogel said the committee took several factors into consideration when rezoning the school districts, including free and reduced lunch students, capacity and student movement. “The plan is that the students are redistributed, and no school is over capacity and it also minimizes the movement of schools,” Vogel said. “The only school that had to move students was Winter Springs, who had to move 71 students to Layer.” Existing students at Winter Springs Elementary who are rezoned to a new school district will have some options, though. Fifth-graders will be grand-

Courtesy Seminole County Schools

SCHOOL ZONES: Winter Springs, Highlands, Woodlands and Layer elementary schools will all receive new students in the fall.

fathered in, and their siblings will be allowed to stay for another year. Of the four existing schools that will receive students, Winter Springs will welcome 190 students from

Longwood Elementary, while Highlands will get 110, Woodlands will get 82 and Layer will get 71 new students. “The population of all the schools were low,”

Vogel said. “We had $9.8 million in improvements scheduled for Longwood, and the other schools are newer. The board approved my recommendation to suspend opera-

tions for the 2011-12 school year. I think they [the committee] certainly would have rather had Longwood remain open, but I think they were, overall, pleased with the process.”

Program delivers for free From OUTREACH | A1 The only requirement is that the senior makes it known that they need help. “We are doing this for our small base of customers, so we are trying to take it to the next level by going out into the community and letting people know they can take advantage of the program,” Brahmbhatt said. Brahmbhatt said the program helps cut down on the cost on medication by eliminating transportation expenses. For instance, a senior who needs medication the day of their hospital or doctor’s visit may already be tied into a contract with a mail-order pharmacy. They can call in for the medication, and it will be sent to them the day of, but such hasty deliveries dip deeply into the wallets of seniors. “At the end of the day they’re charging a transportation charge, which is sometimes more than the prescription charge,” Brahmbhatt said. Brahmbhatt said that at Health Mart, the seniors aren’t paying a transportation fee, and the delivery turnaround is quicker due to the pharmacy being located only a few miles from the local assisted living facilities. However, seniors in nursing homes or assisted living facilities often get locked into contracts with mail-order pharmacies, as the facility may have a preferred company that they work with. Brahmbhatt also said the administration at these facilities sometimes neglect to inform the residents of other existing pharmaceutical services, such as

those provided by Health Mart. “It’s a big misconception that they cannot choose the pharmacy that they want,” Brahmbhatt said in reference to seniors at assisted living facilities. “It’s unfortunate, because the law says that the assisted living facilities need to provide them with alternatives, too, but the patients aren’t informed.” Anna Stenson, a senior who lives at Lutheran Haven in Oviedo, found herself unsure of how she would receive her medication when she first moved into the retirement home. Her facility let her know that Health Mart was a local pharmacy that would be willing to help. “It was a traumatic point in my life where I had to give up all my independence to rely on someone else all the time for something,” Stenson said. “But I can’t complain, I’ve been well-treated.” According to Stenson, who orders eight different medications from Health Mart, the pharmacy delivers directly to her room. “He’s trying to line up my medication so I can get everything I need for the month all at one time,” Stenson said in reference to Brahmbhatt. “I appreciate that, so I don’t have to keep ordering and having them run over here. It’s a great thing.” Stenson said a pharmacy technician, or occasionally Brahmbhatt himself, will bring the medication to her. “They have a nice delivery girl that delivers to me. She’s so kind and so helpful,” Stenson said. “She explains to me things I don’t understand, like medicines I’m taking and what they do.”

The “nice delivery girl” is better known as Marissa McInnis, a pharmacy technician who has been with Health Mart for a little over a year. “There are so many seniors out there that don’t know much about their medications,” McInnis said. “Most people can come into a pharmacy and ask questions, and these seniors don’t have that option. Patient contact is really important.” Another issue presented to seniors in assisted living facilities is pharmaceutical packaging. Most facilities require that medication be packaged and given a name label before it can be distributed to the residents. Health Mart includes this service in this senior outreach program, even if the medication isn’t coming from the pharmacy itself. “Sometimes a patient will be using us until last month, but then their insurance is making them use a mail-order pharmacy, which doesn’t provide the correct packaging,” Brahmbhatt said. “They don’t have a choice, but we don’t want to leave them alone. In that situation we package their medication for them and deliver it, but we do have to charge them nominally.” Brahmbhatt said that Health Mart Oviedo will also be providing a lowcost $4 prescription program for seniors, in competition with prescriptions offered in the same price range by Wal-Mart. “What we’re doing is matching the Wal-Mart plan for the customers so they don’t feel like we’re taking advantage of them with higher prices,” Brahmbhatt said. Health Mart will also be

Laura Newberry | The Chronicle

HEALTH S-MART: Pharmacists Samir Brahmbhatt and Marianne Housiau work on filling prescriptions for customers at Health Mart, which helps out older patients with a prescription delivery service.

extending the $4 blanketfee to several of their overthe-counter medications. According to Brahmbhatt, another service that sets the Oviedo Health Mart apart from Wal-Mart, Walgreens and other pharmaceutical chains is something called prescription compounding. “Sometimes tablets won’t work for a patient, so we can make medications in a different form so the medication is taken

better,” Brahmbhatt said. In this situation, Brahmbhatt and his technicians make the compounded prescription inshop because they aren’t commercially available. “We are the only pharmacy in the area that does that,” Brahmbhatt said. “Big pharmacies do it when they’re forced to, but when we make it, it still comes out cheaper than the commercial product.” Brahmbhatt said the

program’s main goal is to make life easier for senior citizens, even if it takes more effort on the pharmacy’s part. “Nobody’s looking out for these people’s interests. You’ll see lobbyists of every single kind, but none to help out the seniors,” Brahmbhatt said. “They use us as a pharmacy all their life. This is how we are giving back to them — not charging them nickel and dime for everything we do.”

Seminole Chronicle  
Seminole Chronicle  

Seminole Chronicle 6/23/11